Meet your virtual Hornets

For some Hornets fans a trade brings minor changes, like having to buy a new jersey or having to learn a couple of nicknames to shout out on game night. For others, however, a swap of players like the one that sent Chris Paul to LA and brought back Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Chris Kaman, brings about a life change of sorts as they have to relearn everything they thought they knew about the Hornets or risk be eaten alive by online sharks.

That’s right, I am talking to those of you who are NBA2K junkies- specifically the ones who remain loyal to the Hornets no matter how tempting it might be to go online and beat up on your opponent with the unstoppable Miami Heat squad. Our worlds have been turned upside down with this new trade, as the Chris Paul to David West pick and pop is no more, and instead we are forced to find a new money play. Well lucky for all of you, I have spent far too many hours breaking down the new virtual Hornets (despite the objection of Mrs. McNamara) and the following should help you regain respect amongst the online community.

Eric Gordon

Somewhat surprisingly, Gordon is actually a very good perimeter defender and he can hang with the guys you are likely to face online (Kobe, Wade, even D. Rose). His only defensive liability comes in the post, where bigger guards can have their way with him if they take him down there. He has slightly above average defensive awareness and gets his share of steals, although you shouldn’t expect the 5+ steals a game that seemed to be commonplace with CP3.

Offensively is where Gordon really shines, however, as he is equally adept on both the perimeter and in the paint. Gordon has two hot zones on the perimeter; the first one is straight on from the three-point line and the second is on the left side, free throw extended. Give him an open look from either of these spots and he is money, even if you don’t have a perfect release.

He also has one of the highest verticals in the game for a guard, and uses it to throw down some pretty sick dunks if you can get him past his defender. His handle is just good enough to create some space and for him to hold onto his dribble in traffic, and his is a more than adequate passer should your opponent start to double team Gordon after he drops 25 on them in the first half.

How to best use Gordon:

Start the game off by getting him looks on the perimeter while he is fresh. Set off the ball screens for him or run the pick and roll with the ball in his hands and wait for the defender to go underneath the screen. Another trick I have used is running the pick and pop with him as the screener. Have Jack call for a screen near one of Gordon’s hot spots and Gordon will pop out after Jack goes by. Give him the rock and a smooth catch and release nets you 2 (sometimes 3) points.

Defensively, always have Gordon matched up on your opponent’s quickest guard. Jack just can’t stay in front of most of the better scorers in the game, so it is better to have Gordon slow them down. When you are in need of an easy bucket and are willing to gamble a little, have Gordon play tight on his man and you will get the occasional steal- and when you have somebody that can finish like Gordon, that means a monster finish and two points.

Al-Farouq Aminu

Al-Farouq has one, seemingly random hot spot on the court- the right-center portion of the three-point line. If he is open, he can usually drain a trey from there but don’t expect the same results from anywhere else on the perimeter. Aminu is an alley-oop catcher at this point in his video game career, that’s it and that’s all. His ball security and passing skills are atrocious and his off-hand dribbling is not much better. The guy can hustle and dunk, so don’t over think it. He will get the occasional put back dunk, and it will be those kind of plays that will make you fall in love with Al-Farouq.

Aminu is decent defensively, but is quite a downgrade from Ariza when he comes into the game. He will get the occasional steal or block, but really is just non-existant on that end of the court. He is a much better offensive rebounder than defensive, although he does seem to get his fair share when playing small forward. When you try to play him as a power forward in a fast, undersized lineup, he gets eaten alive on the glass.

How to best use Aminu:

As I said before, don’t over think it. Run a pick and roll with Gordon and Jack and throw him a lob or just increase your pace and get him out in transition. Otherwise, don’t really look for him to do much else other than get you the occasional garbage points on the offensive glass. If you are in Association mode and you have some time to develop Aminu, focus on his perimeter game and ball handling. Down the line you could have a multi-threat player on offense who can push Ariza out of his starting role.

Chris Kaman

Kaman is easily the Hornets best post player on 2K and he might actually be their best mid range shooter as well. Kaman loves the right block, so get him down their as often as you can. He also can drill that 17 footer that you are probably used to shooting with David West, as he is nearly automatic from free throw line extended on both sides. His shooting release is quite awkward, and a little slow, so maybe head on over to practice to get used to it before heading into a game.

Defensively, Kaman is a lot like West as well. He will grab a couple of boards and get the occasional block, but he is by no means a difference maker. Ideally, you would like to match Kaman up with somebody who you know is going to stay in the post. Stretch 4’s or centers that like to roam around the perimeter will give Kaman nightmares. More times than not, if you have Okafor and Kaman in the game at the same time, put Okafor on the opposing teams PF and leave Kaman down low.

How to best use Kaman:

Kaman actually pairs really well in a front court that features him and Aminu. Aminu can run the pick and roll, which sucks the defenders into the paint, leaving Kaman free to drill a jumper. If the defense does not follow Aminu, throw it up to him for a lob. Kaman also works well with Landry, utilizing Kaman’s above average passing skills to play high-low. Defensively, the pairing of Kaman and Okafor is nice but the combo doesn’t work so well on the offensive end unless you can put shooters out there to stretch the defense. Whenever I have Kaman and Okafor on the court, I go small with a Jack, Gordon, Belly perimeter.


The new Hornets take some getting used to, but I will argue that this team is much more fun to play with. Adjust Monty’s sliders to make this a team that goes more uptempo and doesn’t run plays as much. Chris Paul was a master of getting the ball in the right spots, but this offense relies on everybody, not just one brilliant star. Defensively, there are tons of combinations you can throw out there depending on who you are facing. This team has more length, but less basketball IQ, and that leads to quite a bit of inconsistency.

Best of luck to all of you gamers out there representing the Hornets. I will see you on the other side (or in the game lobby). DaRuckis09, out.


8 responses to “Meet your virtual Hornets”

  1. I can’t help but think Darius Rucker when I see that name.

    I don’t think that was the original intent, but maybe I’m the only one.

  2. After running the pick n roll with Paul n west for years it was hard to get used to the new players. Gordon is a beast offensively. Ive never had a player that attack the rim or shoot the ball as well as he does. He also seems to get to the free throw line on every drive. Ur right about kaman n his slow release.

    I sinned n played the clips. Griffin dunked every lob from cp3. Kinda fun especially since I know how to use cp after playing him for years.

  3. I’ve never been able to play with CP in any video game. He’s not the best from range and I always had a tough time finishing with him. I’m assuming I’ll look playing with the new Hornets lineup more, but I like playing with the Warriors or Timberpups a whole lot.

  4. As much as I love Trevor Ariza, he is waaaaaay overrated in this game. Try to keep him on the court as much as possible and attack the basket, he finishes almost every time. Also, Quincy Pondexter is very good in this game too. In my opinion the best lineup is PG- Gordon, SG- Pondexter, SF- Ariza, PF- Okafor, C- Kamen. Use Aminu and Jack as your main bench players and save Bellinelli for late in the game as he almost always hits his first 3 but misss a lot after that.

  5. the Hornets need a backup point guard in this game, Gordon just doesnt get the job done at the point and has a lot of trouble throwing up alley-oops to Ariza and Aminu. Also, Aminu is a great energy guy, and Ariza can’t shoot jack, but thats nothing new

  6. the hornets are too streaky in this game, if i hit i couple early shots, its over, especialy in the mardi gras jerseys

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